Mitch McConnell’s promise/threat: New Obamacare chief will have “worst experience of her adult life”

The Senate minority leader says Obama's nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services may have regrets

Topics: Mitch McConnell, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Kathleen Sebelius, Sylvia Matthews Burwell, Barack Obama, ,

Mitch McConnell's promise/threat: New Obamacare chief will have "worst experience of her adult life"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Speaking during a luncheon held by the Central Kentucky Association of Health Underwriters on Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joked/threatened/promised that President Obama’s nominee to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is “probably going to be confirmed and probably going to have the worst experience of her adult life.”

“I think she’s a pretty capable person,” McConnell also said of Burwell.  ”The issue here to me is not the personnel. It’s the bill.”

Speaking of the woman who previously ran the HHS, McConnell said, ”I never called for [Kathleen] Sebelius’ resignation because I don’t think anybody could figure out how to administer this law. It’s a tough assignment.” He also repeated his frequent refrain that he wanted to see Obamacare repealed entirely, “root and branch.”

Asked about the consequences of full repeal on those who have, through Obamacare, received affordable health insurance for the first time, McConnell implied that the health care insurance reform law had done at least just as much harm as good.

“There are a lot of people like that, of course, who are losing what they had before, who were insured through the high-risk pool, who are losing what they had before,” he said.

“The way that should’ve been handled was state-based high-risk pools,” he continued. “Not at the federal level. Because for every one of those, you’ve got somebody who was insured and through a state-based high-risk pool, who lost their situation because they were wiped out Dec. 31 of 2013. So I’m worried about those people.”

McConnell’s implication that just as many have lost insurance as have gained insurance under Obamacare is a popular talking point on the right. It has been determined by non-partisan fact-checkers to be completely false.

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith, and email him at

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